Bob Walton: Longtime Sports Official Fixture On Brevard County High School Fields, Gyms
By Alan Zlotorzynski // May 4, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAMER
ABOVE VIDEO: Bob Walton – 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame
2017 OFFICIAL INDUCTEE
FIXTURE ON BREVARD FIELDS, GYMS
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Someone once said, “I grew up as a sports fan, and I know that a hall of fame is very different than an award for being the best at something. It’s a nod to the longevity of our accomplishment.”
Longevity and accomplishment are two things Bob Walton knows something about. Walton also knows about serving others, which also happens to be a trait Hall of Famers possess.
Walton has served his family, country, career and the Brevard County sports community admirably during his lifetime.
Walton grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio where he graduated high school in 1969. After graduating, Walton went on to serve in Vietnam for the United States Army and then came to visit his brother in Satellite Beach for a vacation and never left.
He took a job with TV Cable of Cocoa in the mid 1970s and also never left, retiring from Brighthouse Networks after 43 years of loyal service in 2015.
For more than 30 years and countless games, matches, sets and innings Bob Walton has become a fixture on Brevard County high school fields and in gymnasiums.
Walton speaks of the games he’s officiated like a fan talks about their favorite pro teams, recalling years, players and even the districts the teams participated in.
He spoke of two state high school football championship games in Gainesville he felt blessed to be a part of. In 1998 Walton said he watched as Florida’s Mr. Football, then Pahokee quarterback Anquan Boldin, fell just short in quest to beat Bolles from Jacksonville in the Class 3A title game.
In 2004 he watched as Anquan’s brother, Demir, scored the game winning touchdown as Pahokee took home the Class 2B crown to the “muck.”
On the diamond, Walton recalled Westminster Christian’s No. 1 ranked team in the country back in 1992. They defeated Brevard County’s Florida Prep 5-1 for a state title. He recalled fondly watching a tall lanky kid rise above everyone else. That kid would go on to star for the Mariners, Rangers and Yankees in the big leagues. His name, Alex Rodriguez.
He remembers watching as a not so lanky kid with royalty in his name tear up Brevard County pitching with Florida Air and then Eau Gallie High. His name, Prince Fielder.
OFFICIATING IS THANKLESS JOB
Walton was equally as enthusiastic when talking about being inducted into this year’s class along with other Brevard County baseball greats such as Jason Arnold from the Melbourne Bulldogs and UCF and coach Tom Dooley of Melbourne Central Catholic.
Walton has been married to his beautiful wife Glenda for 40-years and together raised Bobby and Linda Walton. He has two grandsons, Nick 14 and Jacob 11.
Walton credits 2013 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame inductee Steve O’Neil and Dave McGuiness, two fellow on field colleagues when he started his officiating career, for showing him how one was to conduct themselves as a referee or an official.
Being a referee or official can be a thankless job, but what sets Walton apart from most, is that he didn’t officiate games for over 30 years to be thanked, he did it for love of sport and for those that played them.